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BARRIERS TO ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES MANHEIM, Frank T., School of Public Policy,. George Mason University, Fairfax,

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Presentation on theme: "BARRIERS TO ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES MANHEIM, Frank T., School of Public Policy,. George Mason University, Fairfax,"— Presentation transcript:

1 BARRIERS TO ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES MANHEIM, Frank T., School of Public Policy,. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, fmanhei1@gmu.edu

2 HISTORY Boston MA offers oldest, fully documented history of environmental and public health management in U.S. Discharge of sewage into harbor prohibited from Colonial times to 1832 by bylaws. After 1832 Harbor becomes severely polluted. Cholera epidenics 1850s-60s; Civil engineers design advanced water supply and sewage treatment system for Boston in 1875. 1849 gold strike begins uncontrolled mining in West; regressive Mining Law, 1872. Marsh (Man and Nature, 1864), Thoreau (Maine Woods), Muir, Pinchot (first Chief of Forest Service), Roosevelt spearhead preservationist and conservationist movements. First National Park: Yellowstone, 1872 National Park Service founded, 1916

3 World War II-1960s WWII creates population shifts, deferred maintenance for Boston sewage system After WWII Boston lags in upgrading sewage treatment facilities Air pollution creates alarm in Los Angeles and New York Engineers dethroned by atomic scientists; Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, 1962, attacks pesticide misuse. Wilderness Act, 1964, Environmental reformers, Senators Jackson, Muskie, and Nelson Johnson Administration in coordination of scattered federal science/regulatory agencies

4 The environmental revolution Santa Barbara offshore Oil Spill, January 1969 triggers nationwide furor over oiled ducks and beaches Natural Resources Defense Council founded by recent Yale Law School graduates, 1969; NEPA Act passes 1970-1973: EPA created; Clean Air, Water, Endangered Species Act, others enacted by bipartisan votes. Citizen legal challenge of public and private actions included in laws Rift between environmentalists and industry opens; litigation burgeons

5 USGS environment FWS DOI DOD NRC Environmental Policy before 1969 PHS-HEW Parks States & communities Federal agencies Industry Environment & health Courts USACE AGR. Congress Laws: missions, money, and geographic designations BLM FOREST

6 EPA Policy after 1970s enviro industry Courts Congress states CACW ESA Laws NEPA Citizens & Environmental Organizations Other science & regulatory agencies lobbyists

7 Environm ental groups Industry Citizen suits Total direct tort costs for U.S. $260 bill. (2005)[Tillingh ast survey] Laws Congress >550 ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS U.S system Swedish (European) system EPA Enviro. Law (single) Enviro agency Swedish Geol. Survey; other agencies Industry, public operations Local, regional, admin. bodies, and 5 regional environmental courts. lawsuits through Courts Parliament (Prosecut- ions through Justice Dept. ) European Union

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9 Amendments to Clean Water Act: a case example of Congressional action on water quality from 1948 to the present.

10 Rift becomes partisan under Interior Secretary Watt

11 Barriers Rift between environmentalists and industry: environmental organizations block industry goals; industry blocks environmentalist goals: conservation, membership in international protocols Isolation of factions leads to separation and compartmentalization in science and career tracks; distrust by industry furthers scepticism about human influence on climate chg. Maze of laws and regulations inhibit innovation, efficiency, deprive EPA and agencies of discretion. Central role of Congress and courts fosters gridlock, political resolutions instead of cooperative and scientific resolution Empowerment of local citizen activism fosters hostility to any technological change (NIMBY) Prescriptive law system is unique among advanced nations fosters isolation from foreign experience (“American exceptionalism”).

12 Results Politicized environmental regulatory system. Gridlock in updating and amendment of laws. Major statutes have expired Inhibition of innovation. U..S. now ranked 28 th in environmental performance by Yale and Columbia (2006) international rating.. Obstruction of infrastructure improvement (port and harbor expansion and deepening); airport development Leasing and drilling moratoria exclude 80% of U.S. offshore EEZ Multilayer regulatory barriers and NIMBY inhibit renewable energy projects

13 Slow progress in renewable energy growth

14 Example of obstruction to renewable energy development Pt. Judith wave energy project Australian firm, Energetech, selects optimum site for innovative and movable, 0.5- 1 MW wave energy electrical generator off Pt. Judith R.I. Support from regional renewable energy programs. Application for experimental permit rejected by FERC. Hydropower license (designed for large dams) required, including complete EIS. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends full regulatory requirements because of presence of endangered or threatened aquatic species in Block Island region. Local residents oppose installation – Australian leaders baffled by NIMBY attitude.

15 What to do? Recognize uncomfortable realities and consider European experience. Recognize that “rolling over opponents” by either environmentalists or industry will not work. Recognize that rejection of all other considerations when environmental issues are involved has generated rigidity and conflict. Acknowledge potential for abuse in weakening laws without holistic reforms. Ask question: is Congress, the nation’s prime political debating forum, an appropriate manager of complex scientific regulation issues? Allow regulatory agencies discretion to plan, solve problems, and innovate. Explore appointment of professional, rather than partisan leaders by bipartisan/nonpartisan panel?


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